When planning for Mardi Gras, and deciding where to buy supplies and accessories, note that Lake Charles has a seasonally-run store dedicated to this event. The Mardi Gras Lady, located on Prien Lake Road, is owned by Myra Fontenot and Connie Dickinson. Connie runs the business side of things, while Myra tends to handle the more hands-on logistics. They are both full of southern hospitality and enthusiasm for their business and their love of Mardi Gras.
Myra Fontenot grew up in Mamou, and spent some time in New Orleans as a young girl. These two early exposures showed her the heart and soul of Louisiana, and she came away with a passion for Mardi Gras. She saw the homespun quality of the provincial courir de Mardi Gras, or “chicken run”, while a child in Mamou. She enjoyed watching the theatrics of the band of “beggars” going from house to house asking for something to put into the communal gumbo pot which was located in the center of town. She also appreciated the high-fashion brand of Mardi Gras she witnessed in New Orleans. The balls, gowns, gifts, glitzy parades and exclusive krewes spoke volumes about the glamour of a high-society Mardi Gras.
In 2007, Myra and her husband relocated to the Big Lake area where they built a home. Myra, having grown up around the Mardi Gras business (her dad’s sister and brother-in-law had been in the business for over 40 years), began looking around our area and noticed a need for a seasonal Mardi Gras store. She took the initiative. Connie Dickinson came alongside to nurture the business side of things, and now the two ladies say that their shop, The Mardi Gras Lady, is “supporting their retirement”, and giving them a wide-open window into the warm and welcoming spirit of our community. They continue to be amazed by the loyalty they have experienced since owning this business.
Both Connie and Myra enjoy sharing their vision of Mardi Gras with Lake Charles. Their store was decorated with exquisite tall crowns boasting shimmery stones, iridescent rhinestone masks, and luxurious decorations reminiscent of a Venetian style Mardi Gras. There were homespun-looking costumes that would be appropriate for a provincial style chicken run. They also carry the typical Mardi Gras novelties, including specialty beads and beads for throwing, all kinds of signage with which to deck out a float, many different types of decorative masks and hats, special shirts, tutus, toys, and all varieties of fun parade throws.
Connie and Myra enjoy running a business, but the icing on the king cake for them has been witnessing the delight of their customers. They love to be the ones people turn to when planning a special event. They love to see the look on the children’s faces, especially when they come into the store and their eyes just light up at the sight of all the color. That’s what Mardi Gras is about— color: the bright purples, greens, and golds, for sure, but also about the local color and flavor of the unique heritage which is being passed down to the children. Myra and Connie thank you sincerely for the opportunity to assist you in sharing that heritage with friends and family.